Georgia death row inmate's last words to family before execution by lethal injection: 'I love y'all forever'
The inmate, during his final moments, kept insisting that he had not killed anyone and eventually said he is 'about to be free'
Georgia, on Thursday, June 20, executed an inmate convicted of killing an off-duty prison guard in 1996, and in his last statement 42-year-old Marion Wilson Jr. insisted that he had not killed anyone and repeated the words: "About to be free".
Wilson was pronounced dead after he was administered a lethal injection of the sedative pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson. The inmate reportedly told his friends and family: "I love y'all forever. I ain't never took a life in my life." He then took 10 deep breaths and paused and then took a few more breaths before falling still, according to a Daily Mail report.
The state attorney general's office released a statement saying Wilson Jr was pronounced dead at 9.52 pm. We had previously reported that Wilson had requested a high-calorie last meal before his execution comprising one medium thin-crust pizza, 20 spicy buffalo wings, one pint of butter pecan ice cream, apple pie and grape juice. The meal was requested just before a last attempt to save his life was thwarted. The State Board of Pardons and Parole, in a statement on Wednesday, June 19, denied Wilson's clemency petition.
Wilson was convicted for the murder of off-duty prison guard Donovan Parks in March 1996 and the Superior Court of Baldwin County ordered his execution by lethal injection, scheduled for June 20, 2019, at 7 pm at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. According to authorities, gang members Wilson and Robert Earl Butts Jr shot and killed 24-year-old Parks at close range outside a Walmart in the US city of Milledgeville, Georgia, after he agreed to give them a ride. Parks, who was leaving from Bible study, was ordered to get out of the car and was shot in the back of his head as he lay down on the ground. He had reportedly dreamed of becoming a prison counselor one day.
Wilson and Butts, at their trial, denied firing the fatal gunshot and accused each other of pulling the trigger. According to prosecutors, the duo reportedly killed Parks to achieve a higher status within their gang. The prosecution claimed that Wilson had grabbed Parks' necktie from the back seat as Butts fired the fatal shot from a shotgun. The pair then stole his car and left him for dead as he lay bleeding on the ground. Butts was also convicted of murder in the case and sentenced to death. He was executed in May 2018 by lethal injection.
Wilson, who was 19 at the time of the murder, was convicted in Baldwin County of murder, armed robbery, hijacking a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, and possession of a sawed-off shotgun. He was 42-years-old at the time of his execution.
Wilson's attorneys, in their last attempt to save his life, had argued that there was no credible evidence that he killed or planned to kill Parks and that his youth record and gang affiliation were exaggerated by the prosecutor to support the argument that Wilson "was worthy of execution". They had argued that Wilson's sentence was "excessive and disproportionate to his culpability," making it unconstitutional. Wilson is now the second Georgia prisoner executed in 2019.